Flu Vaccination Spike May Help Combat the COVID-19 Pandemic

Americans are getting flu shots in record numbers, which may help a healthcare system already strained from COVID-19.
Woman receiving flu shot

Flu season has arrived as we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s not all bad news. Our data and analysis show that Americans are listening to health experts and are getting their flu shots.

Our data show that while the flu season continues, 52% more Americans got their flu shots in 2020 than got vaccinated in 2019.

flu vaccination rates 2019-2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 490,600 Americans were hospitalized with influenza during the 2018-19 flu season. With our health care system already overburdened caring for COVID-19 patients, we must do everything we can to prevent a flu epidemic, which includes getting a flu vaccination.

Perhaps the most critical reason health care providers are encouraged by the positive trend in flu vaccinations is that it indicates more Americans may be comfortable getting a COVID-19 vaccination. While the rollout of the vaccine has been slower than predicted, we expect this to speed up, and it appears more Americans are likely to line up to get it.

According to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index, 27% of Americans say they plan to get the vaccine as soon as it’s available to them. That is more than double the number who said the same in mid-September (13%). While these trends are being driven by people 65 and older, the increase in vaccine confidence is happening across all age, political party identification, and racial and ethnic groups.

While the total number of Americans getting their flu shot is up, there is still time to encourage everyone to get their shot, and to be prepared for when the COVID-19 vaccines are widely available.

Our Pharmacy Vaccination program helps clients expand affordable access to the flu shot by reducing vaccine costs for plans and by encouraging members to get vaccinated at their local retail pharmacy for the flu and other diseases. Plans can save up to an average of $70 on common vaccinations when administered at a retail pharmacy, compared with a doctor’s office. Members enjoy the convenience of shorter wait times and better appointment availability before, during, and after their work hours. And, when COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, they will be included as part of this program. Please reach out to your account team to learn more.

You will also find valuable information in our new video series “Clinically Speaking with Dr. Wig.” In this series of short videos, Dr. John Wigneswaran discusses clinical issues affecting businesses, starting with news surrounding COVID-19 vaccines.

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